Matter of Life and Death, part 17 - So-dead
By Dwayne Anderson
"Chug! Chug! Chug! Chug!" Fry's co-workers, with the exception of Leela, chant as he guzzles down a can of Slurm. Once it's empty, he grabs another one and drinks it down too, tossing the empty can aside onto a pile of empty cans.
Leela comes into the Meeting Room where everyone is surrounding Fry as he empties yet another can of soda.
"What the heck is going on here?" she asks.
"Didn't you hear Leela?" Amy asks. "Slurm is having a soda drinking contest and Fry has signed up for it!"
"The prize is a year's supply of soda pop!" said Hermes.
"He is going to kill at the competition!" said Bender.
A sudden chill runs down Leela's spine. "Fry, the only killing you'll be making at the competition is yourself!" she said. "You shouldn't be drinking so much soda pop!"
"And why not?" asked Fry as he tosses aside another empty can.
"Fry, don't you remember what happened back in the twentieth century back when you used to drink a hundred cans of soda pop a week?" Leela asks.
"Not really, no," said Fry. Leela slaps herself in the face, appalled at Fry's ignorance and lack of memory.
"Oh wow!" said Amy. "Now I know for sure Fry will win!"
"Fry, drinking all that soda pop caused you to -- "
"Hey, put a sock in it Leela!" said Bender. "The champ is in training!"
Fry starts guzzling down another soda. Seeing that her comrades are not listening, Leela turns and leaves.
"Oh real supportive Leela!" Amy shouts after her.
A few days later, Fry is at the soda drinking contest. Five other people are in the contest, including two women, one of which is Farnworth's heavyset girlfriend April. Fry spent the last few days in training for the contest. He looks like he hasn't slept in days, yet he's well alert and prepared for the challenge that lies ahead.
"Go!" the ref said, firing a pistol into the air. A squawk and shower of feathers rains down as a pigeon falls from the sky.
The contestents grab bottles and cans and start guzzling. One man is drinking through three straws. Another is drinking alternately from two cans. April is drinking from two bottles as once. Another man has tilted his head back to drink from a bottle with a neck in his mouth.
The crowd cheers, everyone except Leela.
"Come on Leela!" said Amy, "show some support for Fry!"
"Go my sweet hippopotomus!" cheers Farnsworth.
As the minutes go by, one by one, several of the contestants are eliminated as they spew or spit up soda. One man suddenly drops the bottle he's drinking from, clutching at his forehead and nose while groaning in pain.
Finally, it all comes down to Fry and April. Even now, Leela still isn't cheering for Fry. Both have a two litre bottle of soda pop that they are quickling guzzling, tilting their heads back, allowing the beverage to flow down their throats.
One long minute passes as the crowd is silent, the tension is building up. The question on everyone's mind is: who will win?
No one is more tense than Leela. She is worried about Fry and what will happen.
Finally April spits up and falls to her knees, dropping the bottle while clutching her forehead and groaning in pain. Fry triumphantly removes the bottle from his mouth as the ref raises his right hand. The crowd cheers. Farnsworth claps in disappointment that his girlfriend didn't win. Our favorite crew (with the exception of Leela) are cheering.
Fry raises both hands in victory. "Oh yeah! he cheers. "I win! In your face losers!" He begins to do a victory dance. The other contestants glare at him resentfully.
And then suddenly, Leela's worst fears come to pass. Fry suddenly stops dancing. His smile fades. He gasps. Clutching his chest with both hands, he collapses. Leela is the first to see it coming. (No surprise there)
Gasps of horror erupt from the crowd and the other contestants. The ref kneels down at Fry's side and begins to perform CPR. When that fails to revive Fry, his pulse is checked.
"My god!" the ref announces. "He's dead!"
The crowd gasps.
"Does this mean I win by default?" asked April.
The prize of the contest was a year's supply of soda pop. But Fry's body accepted a completely different award: a fatal heart attack.
Fry and the others should have listened to Leela. After all, she does remember what happened to Fry when he drank a hundred cans of soda a week back in the stupid ages.
"This is nothing! I used to drink a hundred cans of cola every week. Right up until my third heart attack!"
Would Fry survive a fourth? Not a chance!
The soda Fry drank contained caffeine. Caffeine is a stimulant which raises alertness and wards off drowsiness. It is the most widely consumed drug in the world. Unlike other drugs, caffeine is legal. Caffeine is also found in coffee, tea, and energy drinks.
In high amounts caffeine is lethal and can cause death, which is exactly what happened to Fry. He had been guzzling down soda in the days leading up to the contest in preparation. Bad move. The combination of extreme caffeine overdose and the adrenaline released by winning the contest was a fatal combination and Fry's overworked heart shut down like an overheated engine.
Fry learned the hard way that there can be too much of a good thing. If ignorance was bliss, Fry would have been the happiest man on Earth. But what you don't know can kill you.
For Fry, it could, it would, and it did! And now, he's so-dead!
To Be Continued